Review: QNAP TVS-682T Thunderbolt 2 NAS
The TVS-682T is an impressive Thunderbolt 2 DAS/NAS/iSCSI storage system fast enough for 4K video ingest/editing/playout with the file sharing/storage and remote access convenience of a traditional NAS.
In 2015 I had the opportunity to review a QNAP TVS-471 NAS (networked-attached storage) system that came with four 4TB drives. So I was excited for the opportunity to review an updated, more powerful system, the TVS-682T. The TVS-471 was an NAS system for cross-platform file sharing and data backup over a local network with private cloud access and some digital media transcoding and playback capabilities too. It also had the ability to host pages and forums on the internet, but with only a 4Mbps upload speed here in the studio, I didn’t pursue those features. It was also limited in transfer speed to my gigabit network connection which is not exactly snappy.
The TVS-682T (Figure 1, below) is much more than just a traditional NAS. It’s a Thunderbolt 2 DAS (Direct Access Storage)/NAS/iSCSI SAN (Storage Area Network) triple storage solution. That’s a mouthful of functionality. My unit came with an Intel Core i3 processor, 8GB DDR4 RAM, and four 4GB drives. You can also add two additional SSD drives and even two M.2 drives for high-speed cache and faster throughput. You can see the full specs here.
Figure 1. The QNAP TVS-682T. Click the image to see it at full size.
Suggested retail for the TVS-672T is $1,999 barebones without drives. It is higher priced than those basic NAS systems but it is also so much more than a basic system as you will see below.
Unpacking and Startup
When the box arrived, I opened it to find the TVS-682T unit, a simple quick installation guide showing how to insert the various drive types, and a bag of Ethernet cables, power cord, screws for the drive installations, and even a remote control for the media player capabilities. The unit is solid, exudes quality, and all but the m.2 drive bays are easy to access and install your drives. For the m.2 drives you will need to remove the cover for installation. When my four 4TB drives arrived in a separate shipment, they just slid in, keyboard, mouse, and monitor connected, and I was ready to power up.
Powering up is where I ran into a few problems. It seemed to load the operating system, but I never received the startup user interface the manuals describe. I got a command prompt to log in. It was in some sort of VMWare mode. I tried the admin/admin login and remained at a command prompt. Luckily, I have a friend who works with VMWare regularly. I messaged him to ask questions. After a few back and forth messages and research he pointed me to a link on the QNAP website I had not found on how to load the firmware from scratch if the system won’t boot. It seemed complicated with lots of command-prompt entry.
The first step was to remove all the drives. I popped the drives out and it loaded to the start configuration screen like it should. At one point, it prompted me to install a drive for system setup. I installed one drive at a time until all four were working fine. After that the installation proceeded in a simple and straightforward manner. Not sure why my unit didn’t boot properly. If it had not been a weekend, I would have tried QNAP support but luckily my friend helped save the day.
QNAP offers a variety of software utilities to help use the unit in a multitude of ways, from mobile device access to playing back 4K video to hosting sites and forums and various other features. I could do the initial setup, but not being a networking specialist, I can get lost pretty easily in the advanced features. If you have a fast internet connection and know some networking, there is so much this unit is capable of.
Of course like any NAS, you don’t need to hook up a monitor and keyboard to access your TVS-682T. You can access it right from your browser with the IP Address or remotely with a cloud address assigned within the myQNAPcloud application installed on the NAS.
Here we look at the QNAP TVS-471, a 4-drive NAS storage device that runs on Linux, can play back 4K video, operate as a home media server, and even has options to back up all your devices including mobile devices